Pre-med students studying for upcoming MCAT

Jonathan Yoon studies for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). There are several opportunities to take
the test. Yoon has scheduled his for June 2022. Wednesday, February 23, 2022.
(Photo by: Maiya Banks)
Jonathan Yoon studies for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). There are several opportunities to take the test. Yoon has scheduled his for June 2022. Wednesday, February 23, 2022. (Photo by: Maiya Banks)

Written by: Maynard Wheeler III

According to a study published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, medical schools saw an increase of 1.9% in applicants in 2021 compared to 2020. The same article states that since 2002 to 2003, the amount of students entering medical school has increased by 37.5%. 

In order to apply for medical school, pre-med students are required to take the Medical College Admission Test, otherwise known as the MCAT. Southern professors use various curriculum and courses to prepare their students to take the test, according to Keith Snyder, dean of the Biology Department.

 “We have booklets prepared for progression through all four years of the pre-med track,” Snyder said. “Skills such as group work, planning and execution, problem solving and rigorous classes help students prepare for the MCAT.” 

These skills are vital for students hoping to score well on the test, according to Snyder. Southern also boasts extra-curricular avenues such as internships and teacher assistant positions that students can use to improve their portfolio. 

 Snyder discussed how Southern’s spiritual aspect plays into success for these students. 

“We are studying God Himself,” Snyder said. “Every intricate design, every amazing detail, allows us to better understand the magnificence of our Creator God.” 

The perspective from some students echoes the same message. Jonathan Yoon, a biology – biomedical major, shares the same sentiment as Snyder. 

“Even though it’s only been about two months since I started studying for the MCAT, most of the concepts that have been covered on the practice tests have been covered in science classes at Southern,” Yoon said. “I realized that the science classes provided at Southern do a great job of helping students learn the material that is emphasized on the MCAT.” 

Yoon said he is currently self-studying with a private tutor. He also uses study manuals such as Altius, Jack Westin and NextStep to study new material and practice critical analysis and reasoning skills.

Junior biology – biomedical major Noah Collins also discussed how Southern has helped him prepare for the MCAT. 

“Southern offers an Intro to Medicine class that teaches the aspects of applying to medical school,” Collins said. “The professors are always helpful and willing to talk; they really do care about us. The bio department gifted its pre-med students 10 free full-length practice exams, which was awesome.”

 Collins is hoping to attend Loma Linda for a few reasons. 

“My networking all moves through Loma Linda,” Collins said. “They also place a special emphasis on whole person care. And since they are an Adventist institution, they encourage Saturdays to be study free, which is huge compared to other universities that expect studies to be seven days a week.” 

 Collins said he was inspired to pursue medicine through mission trip experiences.

“I was fortunate enough to go on medical mission trips throughout middle and high school and seeing firsthand how providing medical care to people who are in need is something that I want to  be a part of,” he said. 

Collins also shared advice that he would give to future students considering the pre-med route. 

“Take it one day at a time, focusing on what you can control today,” Collins said. “It’s okay to have doubts. It is important to think critically about whether or not this is something that you want to commit to.”

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